Program Activities for Child Care Programs
Information for COVID-19 guidance and recommendations during drop-off, pick-up, nap time, and meals.
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Drop-off and Pick-up
Screening for illness
Start the day at your site with health screenings for all staff and children on arrival.
- Ask, “Has any member of the family experienced a fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, sore throat, and chills in the past 24 hours?”
- Take a temperature check, using a no-touch thermometer or, if that is not feasible, a verbal check on whether the person feels feverish.
- Ask, “Have you been exposed to anyone who might have had COVID-19?”
Staff, children, parents/caregivers, and visitors should be reminded regularly that they should do their own at-home symptom checks. If they are ill, even with mild symptoms, they must stay home.
- Select one of the classroom teachers to serve as a chaperone to escort children from their group to their classroom.
- Identify, if possible, two or more outside “check-in stations” for parents to drop off and pick up their children
- Post signs reminding parents that they will not be able to enter the site with their child. Post “Authorized Personnel Beyond This Point” signs at entry and exit.
- Post signs that describe symptoms that may require a child to be kept at home.
- If families need to do drop-off or pick-up by car on a busy street, establish a welcoming protocol.
- Designate a “greeter” to welcome families, take the child’s temperature using a touchless thermometer, and conduct a general health screening upon arrival.
Establish the same greeter and escort for each day to familiarize the child and the family with and become comfortable with the routine.
The greeter can sign the child in on the master list when they arrive for the day on behalf of the parent.
- Stagger drop off and pick up times if possible.
- Provide each parent with a new pen for signing in and out their child and a “used” box for them to leave the pen that will be sanitized before the next use.
- Reverse the escort and sign out process at the end of the day and be sure to share with parents information on the child’s day.
Welcome children to their classroom with a simple set of posted steps with picture cues to start their day, such as:
- Place your lunchbox on the counter
- Wash your hands and face
- Put your things in your workspace
- Go play!
Click on any photo or video to enlarge it.
This video shows a drop-off routine.
Masks should not be worn during naptime. Since children should not wear masks, it is recommended to maintain 6 feet of social distancing during nap time.
- Place cribs/cots at least 6 feet apart and alternate them from head to foot. If 6 feet is not feasible, create as much space as possible between children and arrange them from head to foot.
- Label each child’s mat or cot with their name.
- Remove face coverings from children before they nap.
- Do not have children brush their teeth at the program.
Instead of brushing children’s teeth at your center, encourage children to brush their teeth at home. Give families educational materials and online resources on oral hygiene and the importance of teeth brushing.
- Ensure ventilation during naptime with open windows to allow air to circulate and remain cool. Depending on the temperature, consider opening windows in addition to using air conditioner to keep room cool and well ventilated.
- Wash all bedding regularly; store bedding in individual bags with child’s name on it.
- Disinfect cots/mats weekly.
- Embrace nature! Set up an open, outside napping environment, if space allows for it.
- Try yoga! Five minutes of yoga a day before nap time is an activity that can be done 6 feet apart, and it fosters toddlers’ and preschoolers’ cognitive development, physical development, and self-regulating skills.
Snacks and Meals
Since children cannot wear masks during snack and mealtimes, it is recommended to maintain 6 feet of social distancing during these times.
- As much as possible, have children sit at separate tables, not shared.
- Clean and disinfect eating surfaces before and after each use. Allow enough time to air dry.
- Hold snack and lunchtime outside if possible.
- Remember handwashing for 20 seconds before and after snacks and mealtime.
- Remind children never to share or touch anyone else’s food or drinks.
- Facilitate conversations among children over mealtime while maintaining physical distancing.
If you serve food at your program:
- Identify a staff person to prepare and serve snacks and meals from a single location.
- Give children individual portions of food.
- Don’t serve food buffet-style or family-style.
- Offer pre-packaged foods when possible.
- If you use a food program vendor, ask them to provide meals and snacks that do not require prepping (slicing and dicing).
- Use disposable plates, cups, and utensils to minimize contamination risks.
If children bring food from home:
- Make one drop-off place for lunch boxes containing snacks and lunches for the day.
- Clean the outside of lunch boxes before storing them in the refrigerator.
- Encourage parents to pack healthy snacks and lunches.
Guidance for staff meals:
- Face coverings should be worn indoors as much as possible. This means staff should avoid eating or drinking except during their breaks.
- Employees should only eat and drink if they are able to safely remove their masks and physically distance from others.